Figure 3: Boating along the polluted Ganges’ river edge (Tariq, 2012)
Sewage treatment problem
80% of the waste in the Ganges basin is sewage (Vass, 2010). Of the 115 facilities studied across India, 45 failed to meet the minimum treatment required (CPCB, 2005). This means 40% of sewage treatment plants are operating below requirements.
Figure 4: Untreated sewage runoff into Ganges river at Varanasi (Jaiswal, 2012)
Animal and human waste
Due to spiritual ideologies surrounding the Ganges basin, many believe the water is so pure it cannot be tainted by human actions. However this has lead to mass amounts of garbage being disposed of in the basin. Human bodies are being dumped into the river as a path to enlightenment. These remains explain the high levels of coliform in the basin (Morrison, 2011). Animial coprses also find their way into the Ganges basin, decomposing and increasing the coliform.
Figure 5: Man bathes himself in river water as dead body floats by (Jaiswal, 2012)